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March 8, 2011 March Book Picks! By Danielle Mahoney
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    March is a busy month filled with many special dates. This month's booklist will help you collect resources to plan lots of fantastic activities. We kicked off Women's History Month with Ruby Bridges last week, and we will continue to teach our students what it takes to be successful in the face of adversity. We'll also look at the Mardi Gras celebrations and learn about the Irish traditions we can all participate in on St. Patrick's Day.

    Click on the links to find out more about the incredible authors featured this month and to gather downloadable resources to learn what makes March such a special month. We'll look at poetry, nonfiction texts, legends, folktales, and interactive whiteboard activities that will get your students excited about learning and on the search for their very own pot of gold!

    Miss Mahoney's March Book Picks!

    March books
    Women's History


    Best Wishes by Cynthia Rylant

    I truly love Cynthia Rylant's books and have used so many of them as tools to help my students understand the world around them, become good writers, and grow to love reading. Her writing is always thoughtful and engaging. Take a peek into her life and find out how she became the amazing author she is today. Your students will enjoy learning what inspires her to write and will meet her son Nate in addition to all of her adorable pets.

    This month you may want to highlight the work of some of YOUR favorite female authors. To get started, visit the websites of beloved authors such as Beverly ClearyDiane deGroatJane YolenMem FoxLaura NumeroffPatricia PolaccoKate DiCamilloLois LowryJudy BlumeEve BuntingJan Brett, and Jean Marzollo.

    With so many amazing authors, the list could go on, and on and on. . . . Let's get back to the books!

    Girls thinkGirls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by Catherine Thimmesh

    Did you know that Ruth Wakefield invented the chocolate chip cookie? A small mistake in the kitchen led to a great success. Find out more about inventions you couldn't live without — and don't have to, thanks to these incredible ladies. This award-winning book will inspire the students in your class to create, experiment, and invent!


    A Girl Named Helen Keller by Margo Lundell

    The Scholastic Reader Series offers students access to nonfiction literature that makes concepts easy to understand. In this book, learn more about how Helen Keller persevered through difficult times. You can also read the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps interview with Helen Keller's great-grandniece. Then visit the Helen Keller Kids Museum to see photos from her life and learn about how she traveled the world helping others. 


    Harriettubman Harriet Tubman by Catherine Nichols

    This kid-friendly biography will take your students on a journey through the Underground Railroad with Harriet Tubman at your side.

    March 10th is Harriet Tubman Day and Scholastic has put together the most incredible unit on the Underground Railroad. If you haven't had the chance to explore it with your students, this is the time to plan a few lessons. Use the teacher's guide to help you pace your lessons and get the most out this amazing unit.


    MeetDbrownMeet Danitra Brown by Nikki Grimes

    Celebrate the amazing qualities of young women with a little poetry. Use Nikki Grimes' collection of poems to inspire young writers. Visit her website to hear her read excerpts from some of her books and to download teaching resources to bring poetry lessons into your classroom.



    MommaMomma, Where Are You From? by Marie Bradby

    The older women in our families have lived through some amazing times. How often do we get the chance to speak to them about their incredible experiences? Become inspired by the conversations in this book and invite your students to strike up important conversations with their own family members.



    Wilma Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by David Diaz

    Learn how Wilma Rudolph overcame the devastating effects of polio as a child in this biography of an incredible Olympic gold medal winner. After retiring as an athlete, she became a second grade teacher and a coach. Wilma achieved great heights against all odds and will inspire your students to do the same.

    PBS Kids offers teachers additional classroom resources for Wilma Unlimited. Check it out!


    Celebrate Mardi Gras!

    MardiMardi Gras: A Cajun Country Celebration by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith

    Learn about life in Louisiana with Joel, the main character in this nonfiction book. It's packed with headings, photographs, recipes, captions, and song lyrics. It also includes a glossary and an index. You'll learn about Fat Tuesday and see the fun costumes people wear during Mardi Gras. You may be inspired to listen to some Cajun music and — my favorite part of this holiday — eat a piece of KING CAKE!!! Delicious!

    Kingcake_pkgHaydel's Bakery in New Orleans is (in my humble opinion) by far the best place to order a king cake. I have to warn you, once you've tried it, you'll want more! Covered in icing and Mardi Gras beads, it is beautiful to look at. But just wait until you taste it. Remember to share some with your students!

    Do you want to want to find out more about Mardi Gras? Start your celebration today by downloading a few coloring pages for your students. These answers to frequently asked questions will help you teach your students all about this special holiday.


    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    Itsstpatricks It's St. Patrick's Day! by Rebecca Gomez

    This book is a great introduction to the holiday for very young readers. Your students will have fun reading the rhyming text as they learn about interesting Irish customs.





    Stpatrickgailgibbons St. Patrick's Day by Gail Gibbons

    Just as you might expect, Gail Gibbons packs this book with everything you need to know about what makes St. Patrick's Day special. Your students will be excited to wear green to honor Ireland, put shamrocks up around the classroom, be on the lookout for leprechauns, and tune in to watch the big St. Patrick's Day Parade that marches through the streets of New York City each year. 



    LeprechaunsgoldThe Leprechaun's Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards

    Find out what it means to truly be "rich" — with friendship rather than with gold. This book is a great resource for comparing characters and teaching author's purpose. The pages are full of dialogue, which gives you the opportunity to model fluency and expression. Read it, and you'll find that the leprechaun's kindness just might surprise you!






    ClevertomClever Tom and the Leprechaun as told by Linda Shute

    I love to read the tale of Tom Fitzpatrick with my attempt at an Irish accent. Give it a try! Your kids are sure to get a kick out of it. Teaching children lessons on values through this story is easy, as we see how lazy Tom is tricked by a teeny tiny leprechaun. Linda Shute's version of "Clever Tom" will not disappoint. 



    LuckietststpatricksdayThe Luckiest St. Patrick's Day Ever by Teddy Slater

    This is a cute story that will hold your students' attention with its catchy rhyming pattern and bright illustrations. Your students will have fun learning about St. Patrick's Day customs and foods. They'll also learn some important vocabulary words such as shillelaghshamrock, and fife!




    Fin Fin M'Coul: The Giant of Knockmany Hill as told by Tomie dePaola

    Fin's wife Oonagh knows exactly how to outsmart Cucullin, the strong and scary giant who is out to get him. Your students will laugh as they read about how Fin dresses up as a big baby and tricks Cuccullin into leaving him alone — forever! This Tomie dePaola book may inspire a genre study on folktales and legends. Check out Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka and Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato: An Irish Folktale to add more books to the mix.





    I hope that these resources will help you plan a month of literacy and fun. Providing opportunities for read-alouds with accountable talk, shared reading lessons, writing lessons, and thematic learning, these books will serve as great resources for you to use with your students.

    May the luck of the Irish be with you today and every day! Enjoy!


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